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The nation's 15 top health systems, as ranked by IBM Watson Health

This year's hospitals had better risk-adjusted outcomes, better patient satisfaction and a lower average cost per patient.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Mercy Health - CincinnatiMercy Health - Cincinnati

IBM Watson Health has published its 15 Top Health Systems annual survey identifying top-performing health systems in the U.S. based on overall organizational performance. The study spotlights the best–performing hospitals in the country using a scorecard that reviews publicly available data for clinical, operational and patient satisfaction metrics.

This year's study found that the nation's top-performing health systems achieved better risk-adjusted outcomes and higher patient satisfaction scores, while simultaneously maintaining a lower average cost per patient than other systems evaluated in the study.


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There were five health systems identified in each of three categories: large, medium and small systems.

Making the large health systems list was Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minnesota; Mercy in Chesterfield, Missouri; St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho; and UCHealth in Aurora, Colorado.

Achieving recognition in the medium health systems category were Edward-Elmhurst Health in Naperville, Illinois; HealthPartners in Bloomington, Minnesota; Mercy Health, Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio; Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and TriHealth in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the small systems category were Asante in Medford, Oregon; Aspirus in Wausau, Wisconsin; PIH Health in Whittier, California; ProHealth Care in Waukesha, Wisconsin; and Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph, Michigan.

To conduct study, researchers evaluated 337 health systems and 2,961 health system member hospitals. All research was based on the following public data sets: Medicare cost reports, Medicare provider analysis and review data, and healthcare associated infections and patient satisfaction data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare website.

Hospitals do not apply to participate in the study, and winning hospitals and systems do not pay to market the designation.


It's been almost exactly one year since IBM's 2018 report. Mayo Foundation, St. Luke's Health System, Mercy Health - Cincinnati and TriHealth all made last year's list as well.


"The multi-year trend toward increased healthcare consolidation has shined a spotlight on health system performance, illuminating both the challenges of coordinating care across multiple facilities and the opportunities that can come with scale," said Ekta Punwani, 100 Top Hospitals program leader at IBM Watson Health. "The institutions recognized in the IBM Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems study are providing a blueprint for how to improve quality, lower costs and achieve outstanding patient satisfaction on a consistent basis."

"The growing trend of hospital consolidation into larger, more complex health systems has yielded benefits, but it also has presented challenges to hospital administrators who must now integrate disparate data sets, acquire actionable insights and assure the health of larger communities," said Kyu Rhee, M.D., M.P.P., vice president and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health. "These winning health systems are demonstrating the power of aligning best practices, including utilizing data, across multiple hospitals to achieve greater efficiency while delivering a higher overall quality of care."

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